Google’s initial Bigdaddy update is complete, and with its completion comes an attempt to remedy the search monolith’s self-inflicted wound that for years gave link farms a numeric edge in manipulating highly competitive search results.
Link farms were built on an economy of scale, but now the scales have tipped in favor of high-quality links. It’s about time. No longer will Google favor numeric superiority of off-topic inbound links over quality content that naturally inspires on-topic, thematic linkage from trusted, authoritative sites.
As with all algorithmic shifts and infrastructure updates, it will take some time for things to settle down. At the end of the day, most people will accept Google’s need to produce highly relevant search results in an exceedingly efficient manner.
In the meantime, new issues and opportunities abound for those in the SEM (define) industry. The days of “build it and they will come,” are long gone. With the Bigdaddy update and other minor algorithmic shifts, it can take up to six months for Google to index a brand-spanking new site.
Imagine building and stocking a new brick-and-mortar store, but keeping the doors locked for half a year. That’s not a great way to do business in the real world, but it’s a potential reality online.
Certainly, MSN picks a new site up quickly, and Yahoo eventually follows. But is your online business prepared to survive on 30 percent of its potential search-referred traffic?
If your site is like most online organizations, it must be indexed by Google to be successful. To accelerate getting Google search-referred traffic, consider getting out of the gate early. Start with your domain name registration.
If you’re registering a new domain name, purchase it for the long haul, not just a one-year term. If an old domain name is relevant to your business and affordable, buy it. But make certain to check the Wayback Machine to see where the domain has been on the Web. The taint of a former spam site can ruin an otherwise perfectly good domain name.
With the new or used domain name at the ready, consider setting up a starter site. This is a little more than a “coming soon” page. Every site should contain some basic information, such an “about” page and a “contact us” page. After publishing a few pages of content, obtain a link into the starter site to get it crawled by Google. Just be careful where that link comes from.
How do you get this first link into an up-and-coming site? In the old days, you could submit your site to various directories to start getting a few links. You can do the same with your starter site, but it can be challenging to clear editorial oversight with just partial publication.
If your site will include white papers, market research, or other studies pertinent to your industry, publish these pages early in your site development. It’s a great way to encourage inbound links, even though you’re still building. A press release can also grow links to this type of content.
If you plan to include press releases in your site, consider back-building your company’s news archive early in the site development process. Also, make certain to build an RSS (define) feed for your news items to further encourage links into the site via simple syndication.
If your business is associated with a non-profit organization, request a link into the new site. A little philanthropy goes a long way. If you’re a college grad, alumni sites want to keep up with you. Since .edu domains can provide highly authoritative links, don’t hesitate to leverage the connection.
Relevant blogs, forums, and wikis remain a very popular way to get free links into a new site. Once again, it’s important to stay on topic and offer some value to users while your site’s still in development.
After the new site launches, there are a myriad of online marketing tactics you can leverage to drive traffic to the site while it’s relegated to Google’s supplemental results. If you have the marketing budget for it, PPC (define) advertising will send immediate, prequalified search-referred traffic to a new site.
It takes time to construct a usable, search-engine-friendly site. If you use the time wisely, you can come out of the gate strong in all three major search engines. Continue to apply the lessons you learned while building the site to maintain the site, and authoritative links will naturally ebb your way.
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